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Sinn Féin warns assembly will collapse if Arlene Foster doesn't step down over RHI scandal

Her refusal to step down has been described as “unacceptable” by the republican party.

Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

SINN FÉIN PRESIDENT Gerry Adams has warned that the Stormont assembly will collapse if First Minister Arlene Foster does not step aside in the wake of ‘cash-for-ash’ controversy.

Speaking at a party event in west Belfast this afternoon, Adams said Foster’s refusal to temporarily stand down from her position is forcing Sinn Féin to contemplate pulling out of the power-sharing agreement.

An investigation has been launched into the Renewable Heating Incentive (RHI), which could cost the Northern Irish taxpayer upwards of £400 million.

The policy was initially devised to help businesses and non-domestic organisations install renewable heat technologies which would help reduce the North’s carbon footprint.

However, when extended to domestic properties, a whistleblower claimed that the system was being abused. In essence, the more heat you generated, the higher the subsidy you would be paid. In one case, it was alleged a farmer was heating an unused shed and cashing in on the scheme.

Resignation

Foster has blocked calls for her resignation, much to the ire of Adams and Sinn Féin. However, speaking today, Adams said there must be a change if the assembly is to continue.

He said: “The DUP leader has thus far refused to stand aside, without prejudice, pending a preliminary report by an independent investigation to the RHI scandal. She repeated that refusal yesterday. That is not good enough.

She can continue in that office but only for as long as Sinn Féin allows it.

“If the First Minister does not take the actions that society desires and deserves and which a sustainable process of change requires, then Sinn Féin will bring this ongoing and totally unacceptable state of affairs to an end.”

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